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This is the conspiracy theory that prompted a pharmacist to destroy 500 COVID-19 doses

Published Jan 5th, 2021 4:45PM EST
COVID Vaccine Destroyed
Image: Aleksej/Adobe

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  • A Wisconsin pharmacist named Steven Brandenburg purposefully tried to destroy more than 500 coronavirus doses in late December.
  • Brandenburg, an admitted conspiracy theorist, worried that the coronavirus vaccine could change a person’s DNA.
  • Brandenburg is currently free on bail and may ultimately be charged with two felonies.

A pharmacist in Wisconsin named Steven Brandenburg made national news last week after it was discovered that he purposefully destroyed more than 500 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. Early reports on the story were a bit hazy, save for the fact that nearly 60 COVID-19 vials — which need to be stored between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit to retain their potency — were left out at room temperature and, in turn, rendered ineffective.

It has since been revealed that Brandenburg intentionally destroyed the vials because he believed the vaccine was unsafe and capable of altering a person’s DNA.

As to the root of Brandenburg’s bizarre and objectively false perspective, CBS News relays that one of the detectives working the case said that Brandenburg is an “admitted conspiracy theorist.”

Other details, meanwhile, help paint a portrait of a man in an extremely fragile emotional state. Brandenburg is in the midst of a divorce with his wife and reportedly brought a gun to work on more than one occasion last year. He also believes that society is on the verge of collapse due to government-initiated cyberattacks.

Brandenburg appeared in court via Zoom yesterday and will likely be charged with first-degree recklessly endangering safety and criminal damage to property. The second charge will hinge on whether or not the vials Brandenburg left out are still viable. The vaccine from the tainted vials will not be administered to anyone, but Moderna will look into whether or not it could theoretically still be used.

Brandenburg has since been released on bond and his next court date is scheduled for January 19.

Brandenburg’s actions come at a time when there are already some well-founded concerns about the distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Despite an initial projection that the U.S. would vaccinate 20 million people by the end of January, the number of vaccinations as of yesterday was just 4.5 million.

Looking ahead, though, Dr. Fauci believes the U.S. can ramp up vaccination efforts and reach 1 million vaccinations per day before the end of the month.

“The goal of vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days is a realistic goal,” Fauci said during a recent interview with Martha Raddatz. “We can do 1 million people per day. You know we’ve done massive vaccination programs, Martha, in our history. There’s no reason why we can’t do it right now.

“New York City in March and April of 1947 vaccinated 6,350,000 people; 5 million of which they did in two weeks,” Fauci went on to say. “I was a six-year-old boy who was one of those who got vaccinated. So, if New York City can do 5 million in two weeks, the United States could do a million a day. We can do it.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.